Men­tor re­cov­ers pooch kicks in third quar­ter, lead­ing to TDs that put the game out of reach

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Front Page - By John Kampf jkampf@news-her­ @NHPreps on Twit­ter

Men­tor’s Noah Pot­ter cel­e­brates dur­ing the Cardinals’ 36-6 vic­tory over Can­ton McKin­ley in a Divi­sion I re­gional semi­fi­nal on Nov. 9. The Cardinals ad­vance to face St. Edward next week.

BRUNSWICK >> A steady snow fell at Brunswick’s Auto Mart Sta­dium on Nov. 9.

But it was one par­tic­u­lar flurry of ac­tiv­ity at the be­gin­ning of the third quar­ter that al­lowed the Men­tor foot­ball team to put away Can­ton McKin­ley in a Divi­sion I re­gional semi­fi­nal.

Men­tor re­cov­ered a pair of pooch kicks to start the third quar­ter, scored touch­downs af­ter both of them, and rode that mo­men­tum to a 36-6 win over the Bulldogs.

The Cardinals (11-1) ad­vance to the re­gional cham­pi­onship game Nov. 16 to play St. Edward.

The Ea­gles de­feated Eu­clid, 56-35, in the other re­gional semi­fi­nal Nov. 9.

“We caught them on both,” Men­tor coach Steve Triv­i­sonno said. “Luck­ily they didn’t get to the one by our bench, and they dropped the other. You take ad­van­tage of them, come down and score on both of them and turn the game around quickly.”

Men­tor was hold­ing a 17-6 lead at the half and kick­ing to McKin­ley to start the third.

But the ball car­omed off the chest of the Bulldogs’ re­turn man, and the Cardinals re­cov­ered.

Sopho­more Ian Kipp cashed in on a 24-yard touch­down run a hand­ful of plays later for a 23-6 lead.

On the en­su­ing pooch kick, McKin­ley didn’t cover the ball in time and the Cardinals re­cov­ered.

This time it was Var­ney Spansel cap­i­tal­iz­ing, go­ing in from 31 yards out for a 30-6 lead.

Just like that, any mo­men­tum McKin­ley (9-3) hoped to get in the third quar­ter had evap­o­rated with a 14-0 Men­tor run with the Bulldogs’ of­fense yet to take a sec­ond-half snap.

“They’re too good of a

team to make mis­takes like that,” said McKin­ley coach Dan Rear­don of the two sec­ond-half pooch kicks re­cov­ered by Men­tor.

If the two pooch kicks didn’t take McKin­ley out of the game, then Men­tor’s 17-play, 90-yard drive af­ter McKin­ley’s first of­fen­sive se­ries of the sec­ond half did the trick. That score, Spansel’s sec­ond plunge of the game, made it a 36-6 lead and ne­ces­si­tated a run­ning clock the rest of the game.

It was a close game early on. Af­ter Con­nor McIn­tosh gave Men­tor a 3-0 lead with a 41-yard field goal to start the game, McKin­ley took a 6-3 lead when Ali­jah Cur­tis hit Lameir Gar­rett for a two-yard touch­down pass on fourth-and goal.

But Men­tor them put on a clinic of fourth-down play-call­ing. On the next drive, fac­ing fourth down from near mid­field, Kipp faked to Brian Tro­bel and

went 46 yards down to the McKin­ley 1-yard line. Tro­bel then took it in for a 10-6 lead.

McKin­ley never re­cov­ered — or scored again. Men­tor scored 33 unan­swered points to close out the game.

“I thought we moved the ball pretty well in the first half,” Rear­don said. “We just didn’t fin­ish drives.”

Men­tor out­gained McKin­ley, 357-212. Kipp ran for 113 yards, with Tro­bel (75) and Spansel (74) not far be­hind.

Kipp also threw for 77 yards.

“I feel I’m pretty close to 100 per­cent,” said Kipp, who missed three games late in the reg­u­lar sea­son with a sprained shoul­der. “But I know I can get bet­ter.”

Cur­tis threw for 145 yards and a score for McKin­ley, but the Bulldogs only av­er­aged 2.2 yards per carry (30 car­ries, 67 yards)

and had trou­ble with Men­tor’s front seven, es­pe­cially Ohio State re­cruit Noah Pot­ter and James Ped­ley.

Rear­don lauded Men­tor’s line play, es­pe­cially on the of­fen­sive side of the ball.

“Give Men­tor a heck of a lot of credit,” he said. “They’re a very good foot­ball team. They are huge up front and have big play­ers go­ing to big places — and you saw why.”

Triv­i­sonno lamented early mis­takes and penal­ties, but was happy with how his team bounced back from what he felt was a slow start.

“We’ve got to come of the bus bet­ter next time,” Triv­i­sonno said.

That “next time” will be for a re­gional cham­pi­onship and a state fi­nal four berth against a St. Edward team the Cardinals de­feated in the sea­son opener, 42-39.



Men­tor’s Ian Kipp runs past the Can­ton McKin­ley de­fense Nov. 9.


Men­tor de­fend­ers in­clud­ing Billy Gorka (27) and Jack­son Paglio (41) cel­e­brate dur­ing the Cardinals’ vic­tory over Can­ton McKin­ley on Nov. 9.

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